Simple Living with Christina Sharp | De-Cluttering 101

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February 2, 2017 3:54 pm Simple-Living-With-Christina-Sharp

Is it just us, or is minimalism having a major moment in the spotlight? From tiny houses to packing parties, it seems like we just can’t wait to pare down our belongings and get back to basics. And while selling off our belongings and riding off into a tiny house sunset isn’t the most practical solution to our problems, there are simple steps that the rest of us can take to get on the track to a more organized life.

Whether you’re prepping for an upcoming move and need to get rid of the excess before the empty boxes arrive, or just need advice on how to tackle the dreaded junk drawer, our Simple Living series is here to help. And with the spring cleaning season just a few weeks away, it’s as good a time as ever to finally make your dream of an organized home a reality.

In part one, Upper End Agent Christina Sharp walks us through De-Cluttering 101. From answering questions about her own minimalist lifestyle, to step-by-step tips for tackling any room in the house, Christina’s honest insight is a great way to kick off the series. Thanks for the great advice, Christina!


Q: I have a lot of stuff in my home, but I don’t view it as junk. Am I creating stress without even knowing it?

A: Too much stuff equals too much stress.  Our culture seems to be progressing toward more busyness and more options.  When we have too many things around the house competing for our attention to either be cleaned up, tidied, kept straight or maintained, our home, our safe-haven, becomes a source of stress as well. I have found that even the littlest effort to remove unnecessary things brings great mental rewards.

Q: I’m interested in simplifying my life, but it doesn’t seem like an easy process. How can I lower the stress that comes attached to cleaning and purging? 

A:  What does it look like for a modern-day family to live simply, while still participating in after school sports, errand running and getting enough sleep to not go insane? To me it is about appreciating and enjoying the things that you love and care about and not stressing over the things that don’t matter.

I like to think of de-cluttering more as creating simplicity; a mindful and artistic process as opposed to using words like “de-cluttering” and “cleaning”, which brings thoughts of work and, subsequently, procrastination to mind.

Q: Okay, I’ve committed to doing this… but where do I start? 

To start the process, I pick one tiny place, the junk drawer in the kitchen for example, and start there.  This allows me to dive in assertively knowing I have chosen a goal within my reach and hopefully, within half an hour’s time.  Anything I didn’t know was there, as long as it is not significant such as my missing passport or grandma’s antique ring, goes straight to the recycle bin or trash.

Next, I group similar items together and either separate them with drawer spacers, small bins or even Ziploc bags.  Each group has their own specific space that cannot be co-mingled with other items in the drawer.

Last, I mindfully place each of the grouped items back in the drawer, things I use on a daily basis in front and less used items in the back. Viola! The goal is accomplished and the visual organization becomes a bit contagious.  I choose another area to tackle for the next day and attempt to keep the motivation going.

Q: Okay, I have the junk drawer under control, what’s next?

With bigger jobs like the garage or the basement, I choose small sections to organize…little by little with some “stick-to-it-tiveness”, so much can be accomplished!  And the amount of stress and time spent looking for things incredibly decreases.

Q: How do I deal with sentimental items in the home (pictures, antiques, family heirlooms)?

A: In general, I find it works best for me not hold onto things that do not have a purpose.  A very few sentimental items may have a special place in my home, but I limit them.  This way, they remain special because there are not a hundred of them competing with one another.

Be on the lookout for part two of the Simple Living Series with agent Jen Ross Cross, coming soon!